Rebranding, How, When, and Why?
So, here we go, I am full into my new evolution of my line and I am thinking rebranding is in order. People are asking questions... lots of questions... I don't know if it is because I am usually completely vague about what I am doing, or because I don't know how to explain what I am doing but here goes. I am a designer, but what I am making is my art. I studied design in undergrad and used design in grad school as artistic expression. I have been in conflict for some time about which camp I'm in, am I am artist or designer? My friend Eliza and I were talking over lunch about life etc... we both have the same degree from SAIC and studied about a year or two apart in school. She told me that she was finally embracing the title "Artist" she was like, "I am an artist!" Her and I both laughed about the fact that as designers we had been tainted (in a good way) by our graduate experiences and exposure to the overlap of art and design.
This is an age old debate, and one that is not worth me talking about in any sort of academic way, but I am like Eliza, I am an artist, and I use design to communicate my messages to the world. I created the dollhouses, not because I love dollhouses in particular, but because I wanted kids to use them to imagine a world they want to live in. I created the patterns on the front and surfaces of the houses to make them whimsical and break down the paradigm of what a house should look like. I made it a mass produced product as a way of distributing my art to the world. I never set out to be a product designer, I just tend to think that way, and found myself having to identify with my dollhouses in a way that made me uncomfortable. On a few occasions, I remember being corrected by other people about my product line. When I was on stage at Dwell on Design with Amanda Dameron, she referred to my products as sculptural objects for play, and refused to use the term "dollhouse." On another occasion, while I was represented by a product rep, she said," these are not products, they are art." On both occasions, I was so happy to hear that someone else thought about them this way because they are my art, but I found myself confused about what I was supposed to do. If they are art, should I put them on a pedestal in a gallery? This didn't seem right either, so I continued to develop them in ways that I thought I was supposed to, making them come complete with "accessories" but I never wanted to make accessories, and honestly that wasn't the point, but there was pressure from stores to do this. About two years ago when paper source started selling them, they totally got it too, and they just sell the houses, YOU make the accessories. I felt free of the chains of having to make more doo-dads, but if they were done where would I go from there? I started my evolution (that's what I'm calling my rebranding) about a year ago when I attended an AIGA weekend workshop with Brave the Woods, this was a workshop about how to launch a brand. Of course, I had already done that, but I wanted to go to see if there was something more I could learn. At the end of the day, I sat with Brad to get some feedback, and he and his wife, Krystal were like, "do you even like doing this anymore?" I was like, um, yes?! "Well, maybe not, but I have to in order to keep the business going." I was more confused than ever. What I came to discover was that I was not confused about my little houses, or why I made them what I was confused about was the fact that I felt that I was stuck in my brand: "paper crafting dollhouses." I didn't want lille huset to just be that, I wanted it to be me, not a product. So here I go.... I stripped down my websites, and am changing my message. I am an artist and designer who makes work inspired by cities!